While the summer is winding down and life is getting busier with school resuming and vacations ending, the time for pleasure reading is going down as well. This book on one of the more downtrodden NFL franchises, the Detroit Lions, is a good read even if one is not a Lions fan. Here is my review of "SOL- Still Our Lions."
Title/Author: “SOL – Still Our Lions: A Fan’s History of the Detroit Lions and the City They Represent” by Gary Evens
Rating: 4 of 5 stars (very good)
Review: The Detroit Lions have been one of the more unsuccessful teams in professional sports for over 60 years. Since winning their last championship in 1957, they have had several outstanding players, some of whom are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. These include instantly recognizable names from fans of their eras, such as Barry Sanders, Lem Barney and Calvin Johnson (although Johnson is not eligible yet for the Hall of Fame, it is widely believed he will easily obtain the votes when he is). Yet, for all these individual achievements the team has won only one postseason game in the Super Bowl era and will disappoint their loyal fans.
In an interesting comparison of this team and the corresponding history of the city they represent, author Gary Evans gives the reader a very interesting and at times entertaining look at both the city of Detroit and the football team that, much like the population, left for the suburbs and is now back looking for a renaissance. No matter which topic Evans is addressing, he writes about it from both a position of knowledge and reverence as well.
The entire history of the Lions franchise is covered, starting when they left Portsmouth, Ohio in the early days of the NFL to the current team through the start of the 2021 season. There are just as many low points as bright spots discussed by Evans and through it all, it is impressive to see how much he and other Detroit fans are still dedicated to the team. He includes many quotes from fans of all walks of life who share the same love of the team. Many are poignant, some are quite funny, but all show the dedication that these people have for a team that may continue to provide frustration but still is considered to be “their” Lions.